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Published October 08, 2013, 06:54 PM

World War II vet goes goose hunting one more time

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - When 90-year-old Herman Ratelle returned from a World War II Honor Flight trip to Washington DC late Saturday night, he packed his bags for a day in the fly-way to the fields of Northwest Minnesota - and a goose hunt.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - When 90-year-old Herman Ratelle returned from a World War II Honor Flight trip to Washington DC late Saturday night, he packed his bags for a day in the fly-way to the fields of Northwest Minnesota - and a goose hunt.

The decorated veteran talked with his son about making one more hunting trip an experience that was more than just a hunt.

Here it is: A picture perfect fall day in Otter Tail County. Perhaps the blue sky and windless day wasn't a goose hunter's dream, but the boys still called in the geese – and loving every minute of it, 90 year old Herman Ratelle.

Herman Ratelle: “Marvelous, just simply marvelous, the people I am with are first class.”

Herman, a retired senior partner in a prominent Minnesota law firm, is a much decorated World War II veteran, awarded the purple heart. A part of the 14th Armored Tank Division, he remembers the day he lost his leg, shortly after a German tank crew attacked his tank. Oberhoffer, Germany - February, 1945.

“And I was standing on a box of grenades, and the grenades went off and I went through the hatch. I ended up on the ground.”

Today, Herman sat in cornfield dugout with his son, Steve and other friends who have known and hunted with him for years.

This is what hunting is all about. Looking for geese, creating a lifetime of memories in a morning.

Steve Ratelle, Herman’s son: “Just to spend time with my dad is what is important.

Despite this summer-like day, the boys had a good day.

The geese came in. And Herman, who recently asked to go goose hunting one last time, got what he came for.

Steve Ratelle: “He said, what do you think? I said, Dad, I will take you out. Let’s do it.

He heard the shotguns again, sat with his son, and spent the day doing what he had done for years: Waiting, scouting, shooting, and more.

Herman: “Gorgeous, it really is.”

Even the young men who guided Herman today knew this was one special hunt.

Connor Lausch, Guide, Feet Down Waterfowl: “Pretty special, so I’m glad to have him up.”

These will be cherished photos. A man of honor, this hero from World War II, writing yet another of his remarkable life chapters - This one, the best one; on a perfect fall day, in the autumn of a life well lived.

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